From: The Honorable Jackie Speier
Sent By:
james.pollack@mail.house.gov

Date: 6/20/2016

Test For and Remove Lead from School Water

Cosponsors (5): Earl Blumenauer, Brian Higgins, Mike Honda, Sheila Jackson Lee, Ron Kind
Endorsements: Earthjustice, First Focus Campaign for Children, Kids in Danger, National Center for Healthy Housing

Dear Colleague,

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 90,000 public schools and half a million child-care facilities are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Many of these schools don’t test their water for lead contamination, and they lack the resources and guidance necessary for testing. Please join me in introducing the No Lead in School Water Act, a bill that would help schools test for lead and remove lead contamination once and for all.

Reports in the NY Times and USA Today show when schools across the country test their water, the results can be staggering. A small Missouri Head Start program used bottled water for cooking after they found elevated lead in their water. Baltimore’s public schools switched entirely to bottled water in 2007 because of elevated lead. A Maine elementary school had lead contamination 41 times higher than the EPA action level. It took Jersey City Public Schools five years to create a plan to address lead in eight water fountains. In Fresno, CA, one elementary school used bottled water paid for with state emergency money for a full year.

We can’t ignore our lead problem and hope it goes away. Congress once tried to address the problem of lead in schools through the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988, but the way it directed states to test and remove lead was deemed unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment. However, it is relatively easy for Congress to fix the law by making the grant program voluntary with a set of national standards to meet funding requirements.

That’s why I’m introducing the No Lead in School Water Act, a bill that would update and fund the Lead Contamination and Control Act to make it constitutional.

Bill Summary

  • Amends the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988 to direct EPA to establish standards for state-based lead testing and remediation grant programs

 

  • Standards must include mandatory school testing, consumption site testing, an EPA/CDC directed remediation action level , public posting of test results, and creation of test result explanation materials for families
  • Makes funds available for qualified grant programs capped at federal-state split of 75-25
    • Allocates $100 million for three years, comparable to asbestos removal funding
  • Report to Congress on standard implementation, state participation, and program effect

If you have any questions or are interested in cosponsoring the No Lead in School Water Act,
please contact James Pollack in my office at james.pollack@mail.house.gov. Original cosponsor deadline is July 1.

All the Best,
Jackie Speier